Friday, February 29, 2008

Diary of a Fabric Addict

I'm back! and feeling better. The fiery pit of hell that was my throat now just feels like a furball. I Zycammed and lozenged and Emergen-C'ed the bejeezus out of it to make it go away. Maybe I should give up sewing and become a doctor. Nahh. . . look at what I'd have to give up:

It's all relocated, folded, color coded, and grouped according to its texture and usage. You'd think I couldn't fit another piece of fabric in there but I can. Watch me! I found a rare Friday estate sale advertising "Sewing Items and Everything for the Fabric, Threads, Pin Cushions, tons of Notions" and after dropping Sage off at kindergarten, McKenna and I stopped by. Here's our haul:

Thread. I go through about 5 spools a week and I've been needing some new colors. Those were all the oldskool wooden spools, there were also some newer ones:

That there looks like a spool showdown! Pretty soon they'll start wielding needles. Watch out!

Uh oh - looks like someone forgot to return their "5-Day Loan Sample." Lucky me.

I love that one. You can click on it to see a larger view. In the windows are people talking, fighting?, drinking?, and there's one where a woman is giving a man a shirt and one with a man in a wheelchair. At least that's how I see it. They're all up for interpretation. I've been attracted to buildings and windows lately, but I'll save that for another post. Next!

Wheee! Sewing machines! It's from 1993, the year I graduated from high school. Does that make it vintage? Am I vintage? A few weeks ago a teenage girl in a thrift store asked me if the outfit she picked out was 80s enough (I guess I looked like I'd have knowledge of that era?) I told her yes, the pastel track suit was very Golden Girl-esque. She seemed happy with that answer and said she loved vintage clothing. Up until then I never considered pastel track suits as being vintage, just fugly. But I digress.

I bet some people would consider those prints to be pretty ugly. Not me! However, the gingham faux patchwork ones hurt your eyes if you stare at them long enough. Go on, do it. See? Next up, notions:

These are great big in real life. I love me some great big buttons.

The Sagittarian in me loves those centaurs.

When Sage saw the bag full of those little roses, he asked if he could eat them. Ha! He thought they were candy. Of course, I only let him have a few because I didn't want him to spoil his appetite.

Is it weird that I go to people's homes and buy their unwanted fabric, then take pictures of said fabric and gush over it like it's bars of gold? Eventually I'll cut into it all, turn it into something new and send it back out into the world. I can only hope that when we're all old and having estate sales that some kindred young spirit will be excited to find a vintage kokoleo hidden in the mix.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Caution: This post is contagious.

I've been bitten by the bug. My head hurts, my bones ache, and my throat feels like I've swallowed red hot razor blades. Fun!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Monday, February 25, 2008

Made by Monday - Progress.

I moved my sewing machine table, machines, fabric and shelves. Now the task of folding, sorting, and organizing all this material and maybe even (gasp!) purging some. My mom is coming to visit next week. I should have saved this task for her. She's good at it.

This pile is about one foot high and six feet wide
Soft as a downy chick.
It's made from the fabric of forty million scraps
plus a few bolts of cloth in it.
It'd hold eight kids and Kali our dog (but I won't let her, because she's hairy)
and a kitty we keep well fed.
I don't get much sleep but I have a lot of fun
on my patchwork fabric bed!

(John Denver fans will get it.)

Friday, February 22, 2008

I'm moving out!

Adios old studio!
This weekend I'm gonna do it. Or at least most of it. Or maybe some of it. Remember way back in October when I blogged about the new studio we had built? I have yet to fully move in. There are a million different reasons (excuses) for this. There were all the winter craft shows that consumed my weekends, then the holidays, plus it was cold, then there was the HOLE - that was the biggest hangup - what to do about the HOLE. I can't believe I didn't take a picture of the HOLE to show you. What is this HOLE, you ask? Well, it seems the previous owners decided to cut a HOLE in the floor of backporch, fill it with gravel and install a fountain. By the time we got the place though it was just a HOLE full of gravel. Shortly after the new room was built we filled the HOLE with cement. Then left it alone for a few months while we decided what to do next.

We got this bright idea that we'd turn it into art. Floor art! We'd make a mosaic! After numerous trips to Lowes, Home Depot, tile stores, etc., we couldn't find the tiles we envisioned (and could afford). Twice I ordered cool looking tiles off ebay and both times the sellers sent the wrong tiles. This HOLE was starting to become a monkey on our back. A big HOLY monkey. Finally one night, after a few gin and tonics we said Screw it! Let's just do something with what we have and get this over with. Here's the end result:

Meh. I don't love it. I don't hate it either. We adopted the motto: It's better than a hole! and joked that we should start a company called EriKB Construction where we offer to fill holes with random shards of crap for people.

I won't even go into the part where Erik poured polyeurathane on it to make it shiny but instead it turned brown and I painstakingly pealed off the polyeurathane one night.

AAAAnyway. I got it all off. And, it's better than a hole. You can't throw a rug over a hole.

No more excuses. This weekend I'm moving in. No starting any new projects until I've relocated. No yard sale excursions (okay maybe just this one, it's close). No camping trips. McKenna needs to move out of our crowded bedroom and into her own space (my old studio). Sniff. I'm gonna miss her. Maybe this is the reason why I haven't been so quick to move.

Here's a before picture:

Stay tuned for the after.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Thrift Thursday - The fruit of Joshua Tree.

On the main road that runs through the town of Joshua Tree I spotted two thrift stores right near the entrance to the national park. I told Erik, "You know I'm not leaving this place until I get to go in there." Although he's not a fan of thrift shopping, he obliged and even found himself a funky Tiki shirt. Lookie what I found:

Check out the oldskool Tigger, before he got all Disneyfied.

That is actually a smock shirt that ties in the back. I might wear it, but I probably won't cook in it.

Whoa, look at those freaky animals! I like the boy and girl fabric best. But not better than this:

Now that's the kinda print that sends my heart a-flutter. I loved it so much that as soon as I came home I made two toddler sundresses out of it:

each with a tiny toy that lives in the pocket:

The second most exciting fabric score was this:

which inspired me to make these:

Each with a matching heart in its pocket.

Wait! I'm not done yet. there was also this haul:

It was all folded like this when I bought it. I thought the mushrooms were awesome but the sleepy kitten/home sweet home prints were kind of dumb and the patchwork print was rather faded. But when I got home and unfolded it all I realized that's actually the backside of the patchwork print fabric and the mushroom fabric also has panels of owls and butterflies. Owls and Butterflies, people! I made this today:

Last but not least, I also got this:

Which I turned into this:
I love how this time last week I had no clue this fabric existed and now I have all this. Now, excuse me while I go see what else is out there. . .

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Joshua Tree weekend

Every few months Erik rallies the troops and insists we take off for a weekend excursion. Last weekend we went camping in Joshua Tree California. I have to admit I wasn't excited about spending time in the desert. I guess I'm just biased toward things that are green. However, I'm learning that dusty, prickly, and rocky can be beautiful too. See?

Erik and Sage climbed rocks:

While McKenna and I watched from below.

We explored caves:

and marveled at the alien landscape:

At night as the kids slept in the tent, Erik and I sat around the campfire (drank beer) and remembered camping excursions we've been on before - breaking down at the KOA in hicktown Florida, meeting Tibetan monks in the Redwoods, taking Koko to see fireworks at Mt. Rushmore on the 4th of July, getting lost in the dunes at Cape Hatteras, waking up to a Javelina outside our tent in Big Bend Texas and seeing 3 bears outside our tent in Yellowstone (edit - I mean Yosemite. After a while the trips start to blur together). Through it all, this radio has provided our soundtrack:

Our tent is still holding up too, though it seems to be getting smaller. Ten years ago we were getting ready to embark on our month-long trip "Out West" and back home to West Virginia. Who would've thunk that ten years later we'd be back on the west coast because we live here and that same tent would be housing our two sleeping kids. Time flies.

But staring into a fire never gets old.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Frift Friday

Okay, I usually show my thrifty finds on Thursday in conjunction with Thrift Thursday, but yesterday was Valentine's day and I wanted to give a shoutout to my loved ones instead. I haven't shown my recent acquisitions in a while. Thanks to Craigslist, I manage to find at least one decent sale a week. I got this haul last week in North Hollywood at a benefit sale for costumers affected by the writer's strike:

Remember how I said I need to stop being afraid to cut into my favorite fabric because new fabric will always take it's place? It's because I actively seek it out. I'm pretty sure there's enough fabric out there to ensure I'll never run out, I just have to go out and find it. I got the following fabric at an estate sale in Valley Village:

The house was a shrine to 1965 - gold and velvet wallpaper, bold printed curtains, mod furniture. You could tell the woman who lived there used to be quite the fashionista back in the day. Now though, she's in her 80s and unable to maintain the house so the sale was to fund her retirement. I'd rather give my money to a cause like this than any chain fabric store.

Check out this haul I got the other day:

Holy crap that's a lot of fabric! This is the kind of haul where I have to think up justifications for when Erik sees me come in the house with yet another bag of fabric. This stuff is exactly what I need for my banners and pillows so it was well worth my $26 investment. Plus! All the money went to benefit a senior center that cares for elderly people with Alzheimer's, so it's shopping I can feel doubly good about. When I went to the sale (at the North Hollywood Masonic Temple) there was a circle of old folks in the auditorium bouncing a ball around on a parachute. I wanted to join them.

Rather than searching for specific fabric and notions, I let what I find determine what I make. This keeps it interesting because every outing is an adventure. I never know what else is out there, when and where I'll find it, and what I'll turn it into. We'll see!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

This is dedicated to the ones I love. . .

I found these pants in my drawer-o-stuff-to-be-embellished and stitched a Raggedy Ann and Andy to them. When she wiggles, they dance.

I usually don't like Sage to have guns but I gave him this one for Valentines Day. It shoots little cupids. He promised never to aim it at any living thing.

Erik looks a tad psycho here, but I love him nonetheless. Above him are some old doors we store on the ceiling of our garage. I told Sage they were a portal to another universe. He said he didn't want to go there.

Bella Bean.

Me with Kali O'Malley.

I made these miniature wall hangings for a Flickr Valentine swap. I figured strangers shouldn't be the only ones to get my love so I made two extra to send to my parents and Erik's parents, along with some handmade cards by Sage.

Happy Valentine's Day!


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